CRM software runs my life

Tag: Social CRM

Jive SBS – The most usable employee Intranet?

Example Jive SBS ScreenshotIntranets often receive a lot of criticism, primarily due to a lack of use and therefore an assumption that they are useless. Personally I think this couldn’t be further from the truth, a poorly used intranet is a clear sign that your company culture is not collaborative. Jive seem to have recognised this, and have thrown the overused “social” keyword at the problem. The result, Jive SBS, ┬áis actually the most usable intranet product that I have ever seen.

Ignore the marketing jargon laden press release, here is what works about Jive SBS:

  • Documents can be grouped, searched and previewed amongst conversations
  • Clear staff directory with dynamic org chart
  • Comment and voting system lets you gather feedback on content in a dynamic and consistent manner
  • Tagging is a good structure for grouping the wide range of content on an Intranet
  • Web based documents are a far better way of collaborating on and revising policies etc.
  • Modular nature to group/personal dashboard is flexible and really makes customisation easy
  • The user interface is clean and user friendly (lots of AJAX, clear/consistent icons and whitespace)

And here is how it doesn’t work:

  • “Friends” doesn’t really apply, maybe “team mates” would be more relevant and useful? Even still…
  • Status updates are distracting and don’t have any real value
  • Activity update lists seem to be inconsistent as far as what is displayed

So basically some elements borrowed from the “social” web do work, but most don’t. In the end the product is just so flexible and easy to use that you can forgive the attempts at creating an internal Facebook.

What is Social CRM?

Social CRM is a buzz word that is spiralling out of control at the moment. What does it mean? I googled around and didn’t really find a consistent message. Instead I am going to explain my interpretation, let me know if you think it makes sense.

Social networks have two strong points, they are full of customers that are linked by relationships. These are the first two letters of CRM! The multi-billion dollar question is how can you manage them without destroying them or being seen as an evil spy.

Social CRM Feedback Loop

Social CRM Feedback Loop

The first step towards Social CRM is using social networks as a feedback loop for your customer relations programs. Who better to learn from than your customers themselves? It’s the perfect way to refine your customer relations processes and add another source of feedback and innovation into your company.

The next stage is to develop relationships with your customers. From a business perspective I would assume that this is due to repeat business delivering higher margins, mostly because it doesn’t require expensive mass marketing or other customer acquisition. Businesses justify it to consumers by saying it gives the customer an opportunity to dictate and receive a personalised product.

I like idealistic goals, I think when you are talking about customers it is good to at least aim towards being noble. The question is, how many businesses intentions are simply to maintain the margins of their mass market product?

As with everything in life there will be a balancing point, somewhere in the feedback gathering process I think the social networks will reject further interference. That balancing point is what Facebook and others are thinking day and night about, and the point they have crossed at times with projects such as Facebook Beacon. If a social network hits that point perfectly there is definitely big money at stake, but until then companies need to monitor the social networks in their backyard and just listen. There are plenty of companies that struggle to do that internally, let alone through fast moving external networks.

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